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CHS Girls varsity soccer, courtesy of CHS Yearbook
CHS Cut vs. Uncut Sports
January 29, 2024

The Story Surrounding State Send-Offs

CHS girls swim state send-off, courtesy of Brian Gage

Camas High School (CHS) is well known for its academic preeminence and thriving athletic programs. Several teams and individual athletes can participate through these athletic programs at the state competition level. Last year, 19 of the 22 sports programs at CHS made it to the state event. CHS holds send-offs the morning the athletes leave to celebrate the accomplishment of reaching state competitions.

CHS has been doing state send-offs since around the year 2014. They were started under the previous athletic director, Rory Oster. He began the send-offs to commemorate the individuals and teams heading out to the state tournaments and to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of each student-athlete who has made it to that level.

CHS girls soccer state send-off, courtesy of Brian Gage

At the send-offs, each athlete is given an infamous state towel. The idea for the towel came from Oster when he thought of providing all the athletes with keepsakes. Many past and current athletes hang them up on their walls at home and bring them with them when they move on to college.

“I’ve been to state three times and have the towels hanging up in my room,” senior varsity volleyball player Avery Walunas said. “I hang them up to remember the experiences I’ve had at state.”

The state competitions are usually held in a centralized location within Washington for accessibility. Athletes travel by bus or van to the venue, generally leaving at some point the day before. The send-off is held on the morning of the day the athletes leave. 

The athletes leave at different times throughout the day, depending on the distance to the state venue. For ease of planning, the send-offs are held the morning of travel at 8:30 a.m. in the Main Commons, before the school day begins. Even with simplifying the time the send-offs start, there are many plans to make.

“It’s a lot of rallying the troops. Getting ASB, drumline, cheer and the team on the same page [can be difficult],” Associate Principal and Athletic Director Stephen Baranowski said. 

Cheer, drumline and ASB are all at the send-offs to recognize the state-bound athletes. ASB also creates celebratory posters for the teams. 

CHS girls swim talk to Baranowski during state send-off, courtesy of Brian Gage

“Making posters for the student-athletes helps bring recognition to them and provide school spirit for the school as a whole,” ASB Junior Class President Charlotte Gillespie said.

The send-off includes any admin, students and teachers who want to recognize the athletes. Pictures are taken, towels are handed out and athletes are sent on their way if the bus has arrived at the school. If not, they attend their classes until the bus arrives. It celebrates all the demanding work athletes put into their season to reach the state championship.

“The state send-offs are a super fun way that all of our hard work is both acknowledged and celebrated before we go compete for the final time of the season,” CHS junior and varsity track and field athlete Karina Cooper said.

Originally started under the prior athletic director and continued by the current athletic director at CHS, the state send-offs are held to recognize and celebrate the excelling athletes and wish them luck before they head off to compete at the state level.

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Eliisa Marshall, Staff Writer

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